"Andy?" A small girl was standing at the staircase landing, staring in horror at her eldest sister who was standing in the threshold of the front door.
"Shhh, Cissy, I'm just going out for a little while." Fifteen year old Andromeda Black told her ten year old sister.
"You're lying, Andy," the pale blonde girl said bluntly, descending the rest of the stairs and standing at the foot of them, watching her sister.
"She's leaving," another voice said, this one less gentle, and much more unforgiving. "Andy is leaving us, Cissy. Don't listen to her."
Andy looked at her seventeen year old sister, the one who looked so much like her that it sometimes hurt to watch her suck up all of the bad their parents preached.
"I'll never leave you two," the middle girl whispered, stepping back into the house and picking up her youngest sister with some difficulty, grasping the eldest sister's hand and not letting it go when it tried to pull away. "Bella, Cissy, I will always be around if you need me."
"But you're leaving us," Narcissa Black finished quietly, playing with the dark brown hair of her sister, the one that was so glaringly different from her own platinum blonde locks. "You're leaving us for that boy. You'll never come back."
"I love him," Andromeda murmured, smiling slightly despite the situation, "I love him more than you could ever know. And if I don't leave, I'll never be allowed to be with him."
"But he's a Muggleborn," Bellatrix snapped, "You'll taint the line."
"Bella . . . I hope someday you'll realize that blood is not what our parents make it out to be. We're on opposing sides now –I chose the light, and you choose to continue to listen to mother and father. We're still sisters though. Through anything and everything."
"The beautiful Black girls," Narcissa breathed, "Bella, the eldest, the guarded passionate one who listens to her parents, the most beautiful girl in the world, Andy, the head-strong rebelling middle child, very rapidly becoming just as beautiful as her elder sister, and Cissy, the protected youngest one with the blonde hair and delicate features and personality. That's what they all say."
"And we'll always be the sister trio," Andy promised, pressing a kiss onto an unwilling Bellatrix's cheek. "I love you more than anything else in the world. I would die for both of you. But I have to go, if I want any hope of ever being happy. Please forgive me."
"I do, Andy," Narcissa told her sister truthfully as Andy set her on the floor and pressed a kiss onto her forehead as well.
Bellatrix merely watched her sisters with an unfathomable expression, climbing up the staircase slowly, letting her features get cloaked in the darkness of the shadows.
"One day, Bella, I hope you'll forgive me." Andy said quietly, hooking her most prized possession –a twinkling thin silver chain with an emerald the size of her littlest finger hanging in the center –around Narcissa's neck.
And without another look back, the middle child of the Black sisters stepped out of the house and into the rain, her shrunken trunk tucked safely in the pocket of her cloak.
She pulled the hood over her face and set off on foot in the direction of the city where Teddy lived, almost completely unnoticeable in the darkness.
Andromeda did not see her sisters watch her through the window near the front door. She did not see them watch as she walked out of their lives. She did not see them watch as she disappeared, fading into the downpour, forever.
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